CHANGES ONE ( Atlantic / Rhino 8122-71403)
These long out of print recordings of Charles Mingus are now available on CD. They belong to the best Mingus made in the last years of his life. In fact two LPs were recorded at te same session, Changes One and Changes Two. ( Rcorded 27, 28 and 30 December 1974. )
Mingus himself said, hat these recordings were among the best he ever made. Because this band has been together longer than most of the bands I've had. Among the personnel we'll find George Adams on tenor sax. He also sings at Devil's Blues. Jack Walrath on trumpet, Don Pullen at the piano and Dannie Richmond at the drums.
Mingus was not only a gifted musician and composer, but also had political ideas. He wanted to express his ideas with his music. The tune Remember Rockefeller At Attica reminds of the fact the way Rockefeller suppressed a rebellion of prisoners.
On September 9, 1971, after four days of riots at the state prison in Attica, N.Y., Rockefeller gave the order for 1,000 New York State Police troopers and National Guardsmen to storm the prison. Over 40 people died, including 11 of 38 hostages (most of whom were prison guards), the largest loss of life in armed conflict between groups of Americans since the American Civil War. Most of the deaths were attributed to the gunfire of the National Guard and State Police. The prisoners had been demanding better living conditions, showers, education, and vocational training. Opponents blamed Rockefeller for these deaths, while his supporters, including many conservatives who had often vocally differed with him in the past, defended his actions as being necessary to the preservation of law and order. (Wikipedia)
The second tune, Sue's Changes, is a ballad, Nat Henthoff calls it in the liner notes one of Mingus's key works. the tune ( more than 17 minutes playing time) was recorded in one take - a further witness to the enormous musical advantage of having a band that has been together .... for two years. (Nat Henthoff)
The third track, Devil blues has George Adam's gravelly, shouting blues vocal and as I, personally, don't like this kind of blues singing I don't like it.
The last tune on this CD, Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love was made, just after Duke's dead. Mingus played for some time in Ellington's Orchestra. Mingus was a great admirer of Ellington's music.